Few Americans Use In-Store Clinics

Although retail clinics seem to be popping up everywhere, only a small fraction of American families have ever used them, according to a study conducted by the Center for Studying Health System Change.

The number of retail clinics has grown rapidly in recent years, from about 60 in 18 states at the beginning of 2006 to more than 900 in 30 states by the end of 2007. But as of 2007, only 2.3 percent of American families (nearly 3.4 million families) had ever used one.

Families that reported not getting or delaying needed medical care were almost 2.5 times as likely to have used a retail clinic as families without such access difficulties (1.9 percent vs. 0.8 percent). Also, young families — those with a family member age 18–34, were more than twice as likely as older families — those with a family member age 50–64 to have used a retail clinic.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Families with at least one member lacking health insurance accounted for 27 percent of clinic users, according to the study.
  • Nearly half of all clinic users cited the low cost of a clinic visit.
  • Uninsured users were more than 3.5 times as likely as insured users to cite the lack of a usual source of care as a major reason for choosing retail clinics.